EEOC to stay on course with sexual harassment enforcement
- An Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) commissioner said sexual harassment remains a top priority at the agency. Speaking at the SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference, Chai Feldblum, Georgetown University Law Center professor, said sexual harassment claims account for a third of all complaints referred to the EEOC.
- Feldblum recommended that conference attendees use a checklist from the EEOC’s report on harassment, which covers leadership and accountability, anti-harassment policies, harassment reporting systems and investigations, and compliance training.
- Feldblum said that, besides continuing to enforce anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC will focus on eliminating recruitment and hiring barriers, protecting immigrant and migrant workers, addressing LGBTQ rights and protecting workers’ pay. The agency outlined these goals in a report issued after the 2016 presidential election.
As the enforcer of anti-discrimination laws, the EEOC appears to be staying on course, even under a pro-business presidential administration. The agency’s new focus on protecting immigrants, migrant workers and workers’ pay seems runs counter to some recent Trump administration proposals, including the travel ban and changes to the H-1B program.
Feldblum reminded conference attendees that the EEOC is, in fact, a nonpartisan agency. Employers must wait to see whether the agency’s priorities and goals remain intact, as the Trump and the GOP try to roll back at least 75% of what they call burdensome regulations on business.
Meanwhile, employers also must continue complying with the law, which starts with creating a safe, supportive environment that allows employees to feel free to report inappropriate behavior.